Transforming Project Management: A COE Success Story

In the fast-paced world of telecommunications, project management is a critical discipline, ensuring that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of customers. Nathan, Portfolio Manager at a leading telco, faced significant challenges in this realm before embarking on his Core Operational Excellence (COE) journey. The issues were mounting, with projects running behind schedule, resource shortages, and a pressing need to align operations with cost-cutting objectives.

Before COE, Nathan encountered a series of challenges. Resource allocation delays plagued the organisation, leading to significant project timeline risks. Consistent risks in operational expenditure (Opex) led to financial concerns, while customers faced dissatisfaction due to poor delivery experiences for standard products and services. Project managers (PMs) struggled with inefficient time allocation, hindering overall productivity. Additionally, there was a notable disconnect between revenue and cost targets, causing confusion and impeding strategic alignment. The reporting structure, where PMs reported to non-functional managers, impacted their ability to drive operational excellence. Nathan was primarily focused on delivering to the business’s customers, often overlooking operational efficiency. These issues collectively challenged the organisation’s effectiveness and performance.

Prior efforts to address these challenges seemed to accept the situation rather than tackle it head-on. Stress levels increased as the team grappled with the relentless demands of their roles. Occasional restructures merely shuffled responsibilities without fundamentally addressing the underlying issues.

How COE Made the Difference: 

COE provided Nathan and his team with a structured approach to analysing their issues against best practices. It compelled them to pause and reflect, offering tangible techniques to quantify problems and practical solutions to overcome them. The transformation was notable:

  1. Resource Allocation: Improved lead time for resource allocation through the introduction of new tools.
  2. Budget Alignment: A revised budget cycle better aligned revenue and cost based on shorter cycles.
  1. Shared Services Model: Introduction of a broader shared services support model.
  1. Resource Transparency: Implementation of the Revenue Resource Interlock for transparency between sales pipeline and resource planning.
  1. Management Restructuring: Transition to line and functional management of resources.
  1. Cultural Transformation: Nathan developed a passion for operational excellence, promoting tools and principles to drive cultural change within his business unit.

Key Takeaways and Learnings:

Through COE, Nathan learned valuable lessons:

Promoting a Common Language:  He continues to advocate COE to peers and teams, emphasising the importance of shared language in achieving business excellence.

Overcoming Resistance: While some senior leaders initially pushed back, Nathan’s personal commitment and results-driven approach convinced them of the program’s value.

“The coach and facilitators are amazing. Very generous with their time and expertise to help me on the journey. The program changes your mindset – for the better. I have been a passionate advocate for COE in my business – everyone should do it.” Nathan

Nathan’s COE journey exemplifies the transformative power of structured operational excellence programs. By addressing key challenges and adopting a strategic mindset, Nathan and his team have not only enhanced project management but also instilled a culture of operational excellence within their organisation. If you feel like Nathan, it might be time to measure the hard skills gap, or Operational Intelligence (OQ) in your business. Check out our Leadership Skills Audit here.

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